Councillor Julia Thornton named as new Council Leader | Sevenoaks District Council
Licensing payment problems

We're currently experiencing intermittent problems with some Licensing payments via our website. We're working to fix the issue. Sorry for the inconvenience

Councillor Julia Thornton named as new Council Leader

Published: Wednesday, 24th May 2023

Cllr Julia Thornton was elected as Sevenoaks District Council’s new Leader at the Annual Council meeting last night (Tuesday 23 May 2023).

Cllr Thornton was born in Sevenoaks Hospital and has lived most of her life close to the town, only moving away during her university years. She was first elected to the Council in 2011 and was the Council’s Cabinet member for Planning and Conservation from 2019 to 2023. Prior to becoming a Councillor, Cllr Thornton worked in marketing and communications for 20 years.

Cllr Thornton says: “It’s such an honour and a privilege to have been elected as the Council Leader. My dad was a Kent County Councillor for 12 years, including a year as Chairman, so public service is clearly in my blood. I cannot wait to get on and deliver our residents’ priorities.

“I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor, Peter Fleming, who was the Council Leader for the past 18 years. During this time, he made us one of the most revered and financially sound local authorities in the country, winning Council of the year and Council Leader of the year.

“Despite being in a uniquely strong financial position, as with all councils, we have challenges ahead. But these are also exciting times and we have a new Cabinet who will be at the forefront of delivering our vision and ambitions in the coming years.

“Our immediate focus is protecting the Green Belt from inappropriate development and retaining our weekly waste and recycling collections.

“We will continue to work to make our operations net zero while supporting our communities to cut their carbon footprint with new walking, wheeling and cycle routes and other green initiatives.

“We’re also working to increase our investments in the District, helping to regenerate our town centres while ensuring we remain financially self-sufficient so we can continue to support the services that matter most to our residents.”

After being elected, Cllr Thornton announced the appointment of portfolio holders to the Cabinet as follows:

  • Cllr Julia Thornton – Leader of the Council and Portfolio Holder for Improvement & Innovation
  • Cllr Perry Cole – Deputy Leader and Portfolio Holder for Housing & Health
  • Cllr Kevin Maskell – Portfolio Holder for Finance & Investments
  • Cllr Lesley Dyball – Portfolio Holder for People & Places
  • Cllr Margot McArthur – Portfolio Holder for Cleaner & Greener
  • Cllr Simon Reay – Portfolio Holder for Development & Conservation

The Council also appointed Members to the Council’s various committees and boards.